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Going Whole Hog

Recipe by: Derrick Riches @ About dot com

Prep time:


So the army's coming over for dinner and you need to come up with something to feed them. How about cooking up a whole hog. It'll serve a good 40-50 people so it's a great choice for that church social or the family reunion.
The first thing you'll need is a place to do the cooking. You can run out and spend $1000 or so on a good high quality smoker or you can put one together in the backyard. Depending on how industrious you are you could buy some plans or you could rig one up.

One way of building a pig cooker is to get some 8 inch stone blocks a few metal rods and a wire screen. Build a rectangle with the blocks so it's inside measurements are about 42\" wide 50\" long and 18\" deep. Set the metal rods on top of the blocks to support the hog and place the wire screen over the rods. Then you can place the hog right on top and let it cook.

Once you know how and where you are going to cook the hog you need to get the pig. Try a skinned and trimmed carcass of about 60 to 100 pounds. You want it to be lean to that you don't start any grease fires. The carcass should be butterflied so you can lay it out relatively flat. To get a whole hog call around to some local butchers and see if they can help you out. If you can refrigerator a whole hog get it a day in advance and season it up with a good rub then let if sit for a good day. If you don't have a place to store it then get everything ready so you can get the hog on the fire as soon as you get home. Season it as you cook.

Now your ready to build a fire. If you are using charcoal briquettes you need about 60 pounds you can also use hard wood logs burned down to coals. If you have a fancy professional smoker, follow the instructions on building a fire. If you are using a backyard pit I suggest building a fire ring next to the pit so you can build up the fire there and then move the coals to the pit. You'll want to keep adding coals to the pit throughout the day. Start with about 20 pounds of coals. Load them all along the bottom of the pit with more coals on the ends under the hams and the shoulders so the hog will cook evenly.

The plan is to cook the hog for about 10 hours. Start in the morning. Build up the heat throughout the day and watch the hog temperature carefully. Use a good meat thermometer placed deep into one of the hams. When you hit about 170 degrees (no less) the hog is done. Cook skin side up for 4-8 hours and then flip. Cook an additional 1-2 hours and turn again. Finish up skin side up. Make up a good mop and baste the hog about every hour or so. Apply whatever sauce you want at the end.

Watch the fire and the hog carefully. Invite a lot of good friends over and you'll have yourself a good old pig pickin'.

Bless us oh lord, for these gifts which we are about to receive, from thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen. Visit Hickory Works!

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